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How to watch 'A Charlie Brown Christmas'

A Charlie Brown Christmas on Apple TV+
(Image credit: Apple TV+)

It's just not Christmas if you don't watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. I don't make the rules — that's just how it is.

Fortunately in 2021 it's easy to stream A Charlie Brown Christmas online. In 2020, all of the classic Peanuts holiday cartoons, including A Charlie Brown Christmas, were moved to Apple TV Plus for exclusive streaming. But (after some coaxing from the Charlie Brown fans on social media), Apple also opted to continue the tradition of airing the holiday specials on traditional broadcast TV, just in a different spot than usual.

Amid all the movement, here's how to stream A Charlie Brown Christmas online in 2021.

How to watch 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' on Apple TV Plus

A Charlie Brown Christmas has been available for streaming on Apple TV Plus since on Dec. 3. Apple is the new home for all of the Peanuts specials — as well as new show starring Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, Woodstock and the rest of the Peanuts gang.

Apple TV Plus costs $4.99 a month and is available on most major streaming platforms. That includes web browsers, Roku TV, Amazon Fire TV, iPhones, iPads and select smart TVs.

How to watch 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' from anywhere

Before we get to the gritty details (that sounds like something Pigpen would deal with, but whatever), it's worth exploring one of those annoying things of streaming content in the current days. What if A Charlie Brown Christmas isn't available where you are?

That's where a VPN could be the answer. A virtual private network takes all of your network traffic and tunnels it through a specific set of servers in a specific country. Say, the United States. It's the next best thing to actually being in the U.S., I'm told.

The trick is that you need to be able to trust your VPN because all of your network traffic — encrypted and unencrypted alike — will be transiting it. And for that, we're longtime fans of ExpressVPN.

Your best bet

ExpressVPN is one of the easiest and affordable ways to watch what you want from anywhere you want to watch it. Plus it'll help keep your network traffic away from any prying eyes on public networks.

And it's a great way to watch all the spooky content this halloween season —  from anywhere in the world.

How to watch 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' for free

When Apple initially made the announcement in 2020 that A Charlie Brown Christmas and the other Peanuts holiday specials would be only available to watch on Apple TV Plus, viewers were as angry as Charlie Brown at the kite-eating tree and they made their voices heard on social media. Apple listened, and has partnered with PBS to air these specials live.

This year, A Charlie Brown Christmas will be shown on PBS and PBS Kids at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT on Dec. 19. (You'll need to check your local listings for that, just to be sure, though.)

The good news is that most streaming services carry PBS, and it's also likely available over-the-air with an antenna. 

Is 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' on CBS anymore?

Nope. Apple TV+ and PBS are your only options right now. Welcome to the future.

Is there more Charlie Brown coming to Apple TV Plus?

A Charlie Brown Christmas isn't the only special from the Peanuts gang on Apple TV Plus.

Because Apple TV Plus is the new and mostly exclusive home for Charlie Brown, it's also where you'll find the likes of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, as well as A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. There will also be a brand new holiday special, For Auld Lang Syne, a New Year's special, debuting on the streaming platform on Dec. 10. Plus, a collection of Christmas-themed vignettes created and written by Charles M. Schulz called It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown are also being shown on Apple TV Plus.

Other Peanuts original series on Apple TV Plus include The Snoopy Show and Snoopy in Space.

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun.